20 Songs About Nothing

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Written By Julia Mehalko

Julia is a music journalist with a passion for retro songs. She holds a degree in journalism from University of Nevada.

There’s just something about songs about nothing. Below, we’ve listed 20 great songs that are about nothing.

Many artists have found inspiration in discussing nothing — and in various ways. From signing about coming from nothing to songs with nothing in the lyrics, this list has different songs. Here, you can see how musicians have been inspired by nothing at all!

1. “Nothing” by Bruno Major

Bruno Major’s 2019 song “Nothing” deals with a romantic relationship. Here, the singer discusses how much he loves his partner — and how he can do nothing at all with them and still be completely happy.

Let’s look at the lyrics. He sings, “But there’s nothing like doing nothing with you”.

2. “Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits

Dire Straits released their hit song “Money For Nothing” on their 1985 album Brothers in Arms. In this song, the band also mentions nothing. Here, the song is narrated by a working-class man who has negative views of musicians in the 1980s.

He feels that these musicians are barely doing anything, yet they’re making so much money, thanks to being featured on MTV.

For example, in the lyrics, the singer says, “You play the guitar on the MTV / That ain’t workin’, that’s the way you do it / Money for nothin’ and your chicks for free”.

3. “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica

Metallica’s 1991 song “Nothing Else Matters” is one of their most popular songs to this day. It’s also one of their best and was a huge hit when it was first released!

As you can tell from the title, the band also sings about nothing in this song. This song is about feeling your deepest emotions. It can also be seen as the singer allowing himself to do this within his career, as he trusts his band completely.

Therefore, “Nothing Else Matters” except him and the band!

4. “Nothing Without You” by The Weeknd

In The Weeknd’s 2016 song “Nothing Without You”, singer Abel discusses how he would be nothing without his romantic partner. He doesn’t want her to leave, as she’s made him a better man, and the man he is today. Here, the singer uses “nothing” to describe the state he would be in without his lover!

5. “For No One” by The Beatles

In The Beatles’ great 1966 song “For No One”, Paul McCartney sings about the end of a relationship. He sings the lyrics, “And in her eyes, you see nothing / No sign of love behind the tears”.

In these lines, McCartney sees nothing in his partner’s eyes, signaling that she may not love him as he thought. However, later in the song, he does also hint that she needs him, even if she doesn’t want to say she does.

6. “Nothin’ At All” by Heart

Heart released their song “Nothin’ At All” on their 1985 album Heart. Upon its release, this song was a huge hit and landed on the top music charts! Throughout this song, the band talks about a romance by talking about “nothing”.

They sing, “It was nothin’ at all like anything I had felt before / No, nothin’ at all like I thought, no, it’s so much more / No one else has ever made me feel this way / When I asked you how you did it, you just say / It was nothin’ at all”.

Therefore, they manage to describe this relationship by describing it as “nothing” in a few different ways. Firstly, they say that it was unlike a relationship they’ve ever had before. Secondly, they also sing that their partner made them feel this way by doing nothing at all!

7. “Across the Universe” by The Beatles

The Beatles’ 1969 song “Across the Universe” is a song that can be seen as about everything and also nothing at all. In this song, John Lennon sings about many things in the universe. However, he also sings, “Nothing’s gonna change my world”.

Now, there are many ways you can interpret this song, and particularly this phrase. Some believe that this line means that nothing bad is going to change Lennon’s world, or affect how he lives his life.

Meanwhile, others believe the line could be seen as Lennon saying that nothing at all is going to change his world — which could be rather hopeless.

8. “Piggy” by Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails released their song “Piggy” on their 1994 album The Downward Spiral. For the most part, this song was inspired by the band’s guitarist leaving the band to focus on his own music. However, the song can also be interpreted as any other type of relationship.

In this song, the singer details how lost he feels without this person. However, he does try to move on and act as if nothing is wrong, singing, “Nothing can stop me now, ’cause I don’t care anymore”.

9. “All or Nothing” by Cher

Cher’s 1999 hit song “All or Nothing” also discusses “nothing” when explaining her romantic relationship. In this song, Cher sings about a relationship that isn’t working out. She can’t decide if this man wants to be with her, or if he even cares about her.

So, she tells him that it’s “All or Nothing”. Either they work this out and be together 100%, or they don’t have any type of relationship at all!

10. “Nothing Really Matters” by Madonna

Madonna released her hit song “Nothing Really Matters” as the last single on her 1999 album Ray of Light. Madonna has said in the past that this song was inspired by her daughter.

In this song, Madonna compares who she used to be to who she is now. Before, she was selfish and only wanted to live her life for herself. But now that she has her daughter, her whole entire life has changed.

She sings, “Nothing really matters / Love is all we need / Everything I give you / All comes back to me”.

11. “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” by Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus

Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus released their 2018 song “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart” to great success. In this song, the duo also discusses “nothing”.

Here, they say that “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”. Even though the world can be hard and cruel, no other situation compared to heartbreak.

For example, the lyrics say, “Things fall apart, but nothing breaks like a heart / And nothing breaks like a heart”.

12. “Nothing Is Real But the Girl” by Blondie

Blondie released their song “Nothing Is Real But the Girl” on their 1999 album No Exit. In this song, the band sings about how nothing else in the entire world is as real as “the Girl”. Through this song, the band expresses how they believe in love!

13. “Nothing Compares 2 U” by Sinéad O’Connor

Originally written by Prince, “Nothing Compares 2 U” became a hit song when Sinéad O’Connor released her own version of the song in 1990. The song details the breakdown of a romantic relationship.

O’Connor sings about how her lover left her, and now she’s heartbroken. She can move on. However, she sings that she won’t. Nothing compares to her ex, and nothing can help her get over them.

14. “Nothing to Say” by Soundgarden

Soundgarden released their song “Nothing to Say” in 1987. Though underrated compared to their later, more famous, song, “Nothing to Say” in many ways helped launch the band’s career!

There are many ways this song can be interpreted. The singer says, “Someone said my words are out of balance / Nothing to say, you’ve got nothing to say”.

Here, he could explain that he has trouble speaking, possibly for a variety of different reasons. Therefore, he may have nothing to say. Or, someone else could be negatively saying that he has nothing else to say.

15. “Nothing” by Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield’s 1964 song “Nothing” details a romantic relationship. Here, Springfield talks about how nothing is going to keep her from her lover. No matter what, she will always be there for him and love him.

She sings, “Nothing in the world’s gonna keep me away from you”. This is another great example of a song that uses the word “nothing” to describe how one feels in a romantic relationship!

16. “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding

“(Sittin’ On) the Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding is possibly the best song about doing nothing. In this classic 1968 song, Redding sings about sitting on the dock of a bay, watching the ships roll in, and wasting his time.

Many listeners take this as a positive song about relaxing, resting your bones, and doing nothing for the day. However, the lyrics do hint at a different meaning.

Redding sings, “Look like nothing’s gonna change / Everything still remains the same / I can’t do what ten people tell me to do / So I guess I’ll remain the same”.

Here, he sings about how nothing in his life is going to change how he’d like. Instead of trying to be who others want him to be, he’s going to stay at the dock and stay the same.

Elsewhere in the song, he also discusses how loneliness won’t leave him alone, even while he’s at the dock. Regardless of how you interpret this song, it’s still one of the best songs about doing nothing!

17. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bobby McFerrin

Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 song “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” talks about how even when you have nothing, you can still be happy. Instead of worrying about all the things in your life, be happy.

McFerrin sings, “In every life we have some trouble / But when you worry you make it double / Don’t worry, be happy”.

As a result of these lyrics, this song has become one of the best songs to listen to if you need a boost of happiness, especially if you feel like you have nothing!

18. “Sifting” by Nirvana

Nirvana released their song “Sifting” on their 1989 album Bleach. This song can be interpreted in many different ways. For the most part, Kurt Cobain sings about how many authority figures (such as a teacher and a preacher) don’t actually offer him anything.

He sings, “Don’t have nothing for you”. In this way, he’s saying that these figures don’t have anything for him.

19. “You Shadow” by Sharon Van Etten

Sharon Van Etten’s 2019 song, which appears on her album Remind Me Tomorrow, details a relationship or friendship where someone tries too hard to be liked. As a result, they can appear fake or too similar to the other.

This song could also be interpreted as the singer discussing herself — or a past version of herself.

In the chorus, she sings, “You ain’t nothing, you never won / You ain’t nothing, you never done nothing, no / You don’t do nothing I don’t do, you shadow”.

Here, she’s explaining that this person is nothing, as they’re not acting like themselves. Instead, they’re acting like the shadow of someone else.

20. “Swept Away” by Diana Ross

Finally, we have Diana Ross’ 1984 hit song “Swept Away”, which also discusses nothing. In this song, Ross describes the ending of a romantic relationship. Though she thought they could last, as they felt “Swept Away” together, Ross realizes that nothing lasts forever.

She sings repeatedly throughout the song, “No it doesn’t matter / ‘Cause nothing lasts forever”. Here, she’s describing how she knows her relationship will not last, even if she wants it to. She felt “Swept Away” with him, but the storms were too much to last.

Listen to the full playlist on YouTube here!